WE ARE a little over a fortnight away from the Formula One seasonal opener in Australia which means the promotional after-burners are on, actively promoting it as a glamour sport, awash with cash and rock star fans, set against a succession of stunning locations.
Like football, F1 is ridiculously over-hyped, a sanitised, made-for-TV version of the competitive sport it once was, but the money keeps rolling in and today that is all that matters.
Motorbike racing, by contrast, is a considered a specialised, relatively low-key, late-night satellite TV affair. Yet every year the British Isles hosts what is widely accepted as the world’s most dangerous road race.
The Isle of Man TT was formerly part of the grand prix world championship, but the sport’s governing body, the FIM, dropped it in 1976 because it was considered too dangerous.
Thankfully, this did not prevent the island’s Tourist Department from developing the TT Festival which this year runs from May 25 to June 7. Once you’ve read this incredible book, you’ll be booking your ferry to witness this unforgettable event.
Author Rick Broadbent follows four riders, John McGuinness, Guy Martin, Michael Dunlop and Conor Cummins as they frequently dice with death during the 2010 and 2011 TT seasons. But this is not a sports fan with a typewriter romp replete with leggy blondes.
Instead, Broadbent takes a much grittier look at the racers’ lives, for although these men draw huge crowds to the island each year, their experiences couldn’t be further removed from the Formula One circus. Many spend the night before a race under canvas, at their parents’ home or in one case, sleeping in a lock-up garage.
Then there’s the race itself. Getting onto a bike capable of speeds exceeding 200mph takes extraordinary courage, but when you’re hurtling past fixed objects such as telegraph poles and stone walls, as well as moving ones including stray dogs, it takes phenomenal levels of skill and concentration simply to reach the finish line.
Broadbent’s engaging style and eye for detail ensures that the reader cannot help but contrast the extraordinary feats and bravery of the TT’s largely amateur riders with the cosseted world of F1. An absolutely cracking read.
WE’VE teamed up with Sports Book of the Month & have two copies of
That Near Death Thing : Inside the Most Dangerous Race in the World
to give away.
For a chance to win visit www.sportsbookofthemonth.com and answer the following question:
In what year did the first Isle of Man TT race take place?